Gay Liberation in Canada:
A Socialist Perspective
The Discussion at the August 1976 Plenum
During the 1976 membership discussion on gay liberation, four LSA/LSO
members who had criticisms of the Political Committee’s original draft
statement on gay liberation submitted a series of eight amendments to
strengthen the statement.
Since none of the four were members of the Central Committee, it
asked them to designate two comrades to participate in the plenum
discussion, and to present a report to the plenum explaining their
John Riddell reported for the Political Committee, and Stuart Russell
reported on the proposed amendments. Equal time was allocated for both
reports and both summaries.
Riddell’s report proposed that some of the points made in the
amendments be included in the statement. On other points, however, there
were still disagreements.
The Central Committee therefore voted on two motions proposed by
Riddell and Russell.
Proposed Amendments to the
Political Committee Statement on Gay Liberation
by Stuart Russell, Thérèse Faubert, Duncan McLean, Montreal; Chris
Bearchell, Toronto Branch
We feel the Political Statement is a step forward for the Trotskyist
movement’s approach to the gay liberation struggle.
However, in our opinion the following concepts should be added to the
Statement in order to clarify and strengthen the positions and approach
of our movement to gay liberation.
- The gay liberation movement is at present focused around the
concrete struggles for democratic rights. Its final goals will only
be realized with the elimination of sexism and all forms of sexual
oppression, including the forced imposition of the exclusive heterosexual norm, which requires the repression of homosexuality.
- The nuclear family system is the fundamental bulwark of gay
- Full gay liberation cannot be granted under capitalism. It will
take a socialist revolution to lay the groundwork to eliminate this
form of oppression.
- While it does not vote on questions of culture, science, or
sexuality, the League does utilize bodies of knowledge on these
questions to advance the struggle for socialism.
- An authoritatively established Marxist point of view on the
question of the nature of sexuality does not yet exist. However, a
sufficient body of scientific knowledge has been established which
we can point to and draw some basic conclusions.
- The basic materialist view of homosexuality is clear.
Homosexuality is not a "perverted," "sick," "sinful," "unnatural,"
or "deviant" form of behavior. It is a significant and legitimate
component of human sexuality.
- We express our solidarity with the growth of gay pride and with
its contemporary and popular expression embraced in the affirmative
slogan "Gay is Good!"
- We should intervene in the gay movement promoting the civil
liberties/mass action perspective, and presenting our revolutionary
socialist views, including participating actively in discussions
relating to the nature and roots of gay oppression from a Marxist
point of view and other theoretical questions elaborated on at the
beginning of the Statement.
Excerpt from LSA/LSO plenum minutes,
July 31-August 2, 1976.
Gay Liberation Report
Riddell reported for the Political Committee
Russell reported on Proposed Revision of Political Committee
Statement on Gay Liberation
Motion by Presiding Committee on behalf of Russell to approve the
proposed amendments to the Political Committee statement on gay
liberation and the general line of the report by Russell
Regular members: 0 for, 20 against, 0 abstentions
Consultative: 0 for, 8 against, 0 abstentions
Motion to approve the general line of the Political Committee
Statement on Gay Liberation and the report by Riddell
Regular members: 20 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions
Consultative: 8 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions
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